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Archbishop Iakovos Former Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America Dies

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Apr 10, 2005

New York, NY - Archbishop Iakovos, 93, spiritual leader of Greek Orthodox Christians in the Western Hemisphere from 1959 to 1996, died today, April 10, 2005 at Stamford Hospital, Stamford, CT, from a pulmonary ailment. In announcing the passing of Archbishop Iakovos, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, issued the following statement:

"I have had the great honor and joy to know Archbishop Iakovos for more than fifty years. He has been a superb Archbishop who offered to the Church an intense, continuous, multifaceted and creative pastoral activity. He has been a true and whole shepherd to his people trying day and night to teach them, to guide them, to comfort them, to encourage them, to edify them in Christ and to lead them as a loving shepherd to the 'springs of the living waters' (Rev. 7:17) of faith and life with God."

The enthronement of Archbishop Iakovos on April 1, 1959 at Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City, ushered in a new era for Greek Orthodoxy in America. Deeply respected by all religious leaders in the United States when he retired at the age of 85 on July 29,1996, Archbishop Iakovos offered 37 years of service which were distinguished by his leadership in furthering religious unity, revitalizing Christian worship and championing human and civil rights. He had the courage to walk hand in hand with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, AL, a historic moment for America which was captured on the cover of LIFE Magazine on March 26, 1965.

Friend to nine United States Presidents, Archbishop Iakovos was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom bestowed by President Jimmy Carter on June 9, 1980.

A dynamic participant in the contemporary ecumenical movement for Christian unity, he served for nine years as President of the World Council of Churches and piloted Inter-Orthodox, Inter-Christian and Inter-Religious dialogues.

Archbishop Iakovos was an admirable role model for American Greek Orthodox Christians, thoroughly committed to the vital democracy of his adopted country without forfeiting the ageless values of Greek culture or abandoning Greek Orthodoxy's spiritual and ecclesiastical roots in the Church of Constantinople.

Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.

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